The US Department of Homeland Security's Industrial Control Systems – Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) has issued a medical advisory for CVE-2019-10966, a vulnerability in GE Aestiva and Aespire Anesthesia machines (versions 7100 and 7900) found by CyberMDX.
If an attacker gains access to a hospital network where either of these devices is connected to a terminal server, they could break into the machine without knowing its IP address or location and force it to use an earlier, less secure version of the communication protocol. This would enable them to remotely change parameters without authorization, forcing severe results.
With this level of access, an attacker could alter the concentration of inspired/expired oxygen, CO2, N2O, and anesthetic agents; change the barometric pressure settings and anesthetic agent type; remotely silence alarms; and change the time and date settings on a machine.
Anesthesiology is a precise science, and anesthesiologists have strict protocols requiring them to document dosages, procedures, vital signs, and other medical data. Reporting is why anesthesia machines are required to the network – it helps accurately record the details. If patients' stats are changed or jumbled, it can compromise the integrity of audit trials.
The vulnerability has been assigned a CVSS score of 5.3, indicating "medium severity," the ICS-CERT reports. It can be exploited remotely and can be exploited with a low level of skill.
GE Healthcare has issued a statement in which it says the vulnerability is not in the device itself and this scenario doesn't grant access to data or pose a direct risk to patients. While the machine is in use, any potential gas composition parameter changes, device time changes, or remote alarm silencing "will not interfere in any way with the delivery of therapy to a patient at the point of delivery, and do not pose any direct clinical harm," officials explain. GE admits alarms can be silenced; however, physicians would see a visual alert if something went wrong.
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